Celebrity Names Blog

Tom Colicchio's Newest 'Global Hit' Baby Name, Mateo

Tom Colicchio's Newest 'Global Hit' Baby Name, Mateo
cc/ David Shankbone

Just in time for the Top Chef All Stars season finale: host Tom Colicchio welcomed his second son with wife Lori Silverbush. Welcome, Mateo Lev. He joins 16 month old brother, Luka Bodhi and 17 year old brother, Dante.

On our sister site Baby Name Wizard, Laura Wattenberg wrote that names like Alexander, Anna and Lucas are international hits, because they are "smooth classics that are easy to pronounce and spell in many languages, and that have soared in the age of the European Union." Let's see, simple, well-executed classics that translate well into different European idioms? That sounds like a recipe for a restaurant set to compete well in today's global dining culture. Of course, Tom Colicchio has such a family of restaurants.

With baby Luka, Colicchio and Silverbush chose a baby name using the same principle of fashionable, internationally-comprehensible classics that have made the Craft restaurants so successful.With baby Mateo, they're back for more. Wattenberg again: "Yet there's another name with global momentum to rival those fashionable three. It's  boy's name, a biblical classic. A form of it ranks in the top 10 in 22 different countries, including the United States. In fact, it crack the top 100 in every single country that reports its top-100 names."

That name? Matthew, and its variants like Matthias, Matteo and Mats. Did you realize these names were so universally popular? 

Perhaps we can account for the different styles of Coliccio's sons' names in this way. Dante (17) is a name from a different part of his father's career, when he was finding his style. Now, Colicchio's established, known for his simple, classic, yet haute approach to excellent ingredients. As a high-profile, award-winning chef, he's not establishing, but rather maintaining, his image. Less risk-taking than formerly, perhaps, he's still interested in putting a pleasing, modern and global twist on his well-executed food. Thus, instead of Matthew and Lucas, he's amped up the fashion factor by selecting foreign variants that, to English speakers, contain the full classic appeal while also imparting a pleasing frisson of the exotic. (Luka is the Slavic variant of Lucas, and Mateo is the version most popular in Spain.) 

True to the idea of a "global international hit," Mateo and Matteo are reasonably popular with celebrities. Benjamin Bratt has Mateo Bravery, while Colin Firth and Ricky Martin each have a Matteo. (Firth also has a Luca.) As for Lev, the former Candace Cameron chose the name for her son. Levi is also popular with celebrities. And Elton John recently selected Levon as the middle name for his son, Jackson.

What do you think of Mateo Lev? Do you like the international style of names like Luka and Mateo?

--L.R.

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